Configuration

DSC vs. GPO vs. SCCM vs. MDM (Intune)

Microsoft Windows administrators now have a number of ways for managing their estates. Group Policy (GPO) Allows very fine-grained control over every aspect of Windows. Primarily aimed at Windows desktops. Requires Active Directory (AD) and very careful configuration. Requires well trained specialist staff to get it right. System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) Allows central control over software delivery. Also requires AD. Configuration of delivery packages can be complex and very careful change control is required.

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📖 Posts | 📎 Windows | 🔖 batch, configuration, scripting, vista, win7

How-to show a Message of the Day (MOTD) at the Windows Command Prompt

One of the features available under UNIX is the Message of the Day (MOTD). This is run every time you start a command prompt and displays the content of a file. In addition, the UNIX shells allow all sorts of stuff to be run and configured every time you start a new prompt using the .profile and .bashrc command files. Windows users don’t generally expect that kind of flexibility from their command prompts.


📖 Posts | 📎 Blogging, Development | 🔖 configuration, vps, wordpress

Site updated – Faster and better!

The upgrade of this blog from WordPress 3.3 to 3.4 on Dreamhost didn’t go as smoothly as planned. In fact it failed fairly spectacularly – unable to complete the required database upgrade. However, many clouds have silver linings. In this case it meant that I brought forward my plans to ditch the horribly slow hosting provided by Dreamhost in the USA and switch over to the new VPS provided by BHost in the UK.


📖 Posts | 📎None | 🔖 batch, configuration, cygwin, scripting

Speeding up Cygwin

Yesterday I mentioned my success with Cygwin. One issue I did have though was with the speed of startup. It was taking 15-20 seconds to start a BASH shell. It turns out that this was a PATH issue. I went through my Windows PATH and cleared out the clutter. Now it takes just around 3-4 seconds for a full BASH login and less still for just running a script. I now find myself using the BASH shell for all sorts of things and I’ve set up a number of alias’s to switch to folders I’m using a lot and to open common documents.


📖 Posts | 📎 Windows | 🔖 backup, batch, configuration, scripting, vista, win7

Keeping Control: File and Folder Links for Windows Users

A good backup strategy for any computer involves keeping control of where stuff is stored. The fewer locations that contain files that change, the fewer locations have to be maintained. UNIX users have always had the ability to keep things wherever they wanted and then to LINK that information into the required location. Basically, links create a link or tunnel between one file or folder and another. Most of the time, you will not notice that you’ve entered a tunnel and you are not interested really.

Copy and Paste to OneNote (AutoHotKey script)

After yesterdays OneNote tool post, I thought I’d do another while I think about it. Another annoyance of OneNote is it’s lack of control over pasting information from the clipboard. I’ve raised a suggestion with MS to improve this; you can see my comment in the newsgroup. To ease things a little if you need to copy and paste lots of stuff to OneNote, here is an AutoHotKey script to help.

Setting list item gaps in Microsoft OneNote (AutoHotKey script)

Although I like Microsoft OneNote and use it continuously, it does have a few failings. One of these is the inability to set the default styles and layout for text. In particular, when you create a new paragraph or list entry in OneNote, the default – non-changeable – setting is to have no white space between the paragraphs. This is very poor design and makes more than a small amount of text quite unreadable.


📖 Posts | 📎 Windows | 🔖 batch, configuration, scripting, vbs

Changing system environment variables from the Windows command line

There are several ways to change global or user environment variables manually in Windows. Most are well known so I wont repeat them here (e.g. in Vista or Windows 7, Control Panel/User Accounts, Change my environment variables). However, sometimes you want to do this from a command (aka script or batch) file. This is not as straightforwards as it might seem. That’s because if you simply set the variable – e.


📖 Posts | 📎 Software | 🔖 configuration, vista, win7

proxy.pac files, Mozilla (Firefox & Thunderbird) and Vista or Windows 7

I’ve found a problem with Mozilla based products and proxy settings. To automatically configure a proxy for use by Internet browsers, you can use a file called “proxy.pac“. This is a JavaScript function that is loaded into the browser when it starts and redirects requests via a proxy where required. All of the descriptions for this file you will find on the Internet will provide the following example of checking your current IP address.


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration, fonts

Font sizes and DPI

This seems to be a problem that won’t go away. It seems inordinately hard to get a good looking set of fonts of the correct size. It is not that there aren’t some nice fonts available; there are, at last, some fonts under Linux that often look superior to the Microsoft ones. It’s just that it is difficult to get the whole look and feel correct. This is especially true when mixing Gnome based applications (Firefox and Thunderbird for example) and KDE.


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration

Flashing the BIOS from Linux (Phoenix BIOS)

I haven’t looked at the BIOS on my ageing ASUS A8N-SLI motherboard for ages – in fact not since I switched it fully to Linux – so how do you update the Phoenix BIOS without DOS or Windows? I don’t bother with a floppy disk any more and creating a DOS boot CD just for this once every x years job is a faff! Well there is an article here that might help.


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration, firefox

Changing backspace to go back through history (FireFox for Linux)

Us old-time Windows bods get used to our keyboard shortcuts I’m afraid. One of the most useful is using the backspace key in the browser to go back through the browsers history. Unfortunately, this is not the default under Linux (alt-left arrow is the default). FireFox has an easy way to fix this. Put “about:config” in the address bar and “backspace” in the search entry. You should see the entry “browser.


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration, opensuse

What did I install? (For OpenSUSE)

One thing that I didn’t get around to doing since I moved from Ubuntu was to work out how to make a note of what has been installed. This is slightly complicated by the fact that you can install stuff straight from an RPM file as well as through YAST (from the repositories or 1-click links). Well, I finally got round to working it out and here is a summary. To see what you have done with the YAST installers, just look at the log!


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration

What Linux system files might need editing?

Whilst great strides have been made by the Linux community to provide GUI’s for many tasks, it is still a command line driven OS at it’s heart. This, of course, is one of its strengths as everything can be scripted too. However, for none IT techies, it is very daunting. Here I’m listing some of the system files I’ve had (or at least wanted) to change by hand. It’s a very quick reference, largely for my own benefit should I need to rebuild my system.


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration

Fast storage using tmpfs

Here is a link to an article on using tmpfs (and the commonly pre-defined /dev/shm mount for tmpfs) as a high-speed, in-memory filing system. This is very handy for small-ish amounts of data in files that get a lot of access. Just remember that you will loose it if the host crashes! You can use this for SqlLite database files too. Create turbocharged storage using tmpfs